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From: m.driussi@genie.geis.com
Subject: (urth) Severian's family
Date: Wed,  7 Jan 98 01:53:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #6535242 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET02#

Terence Nickolette,

The presumed detail of Severian's family tree was one of the
earliest topics of working out TBOTNS, beginning with Clute's essay
in 1986. There are many, many little points upon which everybody
argues almost endlessly.  Having argued over most of it a few times
too many, I find I don't have the energy to do more than point in
general directions at this time!

Re: Cath as Severian's mother.  It hinges mainly upon: the revelation
that Ouen the waiter at the Inn of Lost Loves is Severian's
biological father, who had met and loved a woman named Cath, said
woman disappeared from his life when taken away by authorities for
some unknown crime.  This meshes nicely with the bits that Severian
tells of children in the Matachin Tower (born of prisoners), as well
as what he tells of his own mother (nursing Sev in a cell).  The link
between this Cath and that Kath is the passage you've already alluded
to--Clute and everybody since him has used the "pool = mirror = maid
looks like Sev" line of reasoning.

Re: the historical Kath (i.e., Patron Saint of torturers).  First,
I'm not claiming that the same maid has been working the feast drama
for a chiliad--I'm all but insisting that the same woman is playing
the role for the duration of Severian's apprenticehood, and after the
feast of his elevation she vanishes, never to be seen again.  This is
pretty much the facts given in the text.  Where I spin off is to
speculate that Cath vanishes into the corridors of time and winds up
becoming the historical Kath in the same sort of way that Sev winds
up becoming the historical Conciliator--hundreds or thousands of
years in the past.

Re: Merryn as his sister.  Well, Merryn shows up very few times.  If
you look at these scenes you will notice that Merryn and Severian are
the same age: 23 years old.  And, back to those notes about children
among the torturers, you recall that baby girls are handed over to the
witches.  Finally, there is the issue of twins--Severian and Severa
are well known twin names (witness the twins at the pioneer hut in
the mountains), and a few times Sev is asked if he has a sister; the
last time, with Ava in volume four, he says that if he does, then she
is a witch.  Well, this repetition leads many to believe that Merryn
is Sev's sister.

Forgive me if I say no more on the subject.  Perhaps others will!


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